Art of producing colourful wooden masks has been revived in Kushmundi, and demand for them is global.
Initiatives by the Government
- A number of initiatives have been taken, which include setting up a training-cum-resource centre at Kushmundi and organising a village folk festival every year.
- In 2013 a memorandum of understanding was signed between the West Bengal government and UNESCO to promote culture-based livelihoods to change for the better for these mask-makers.
- Banglanatak, a social enterprise that partners with UNESCO worked for capacity building among the mask-makers at the ground level.
- The festival to promote mask-making will be held from October 27 to October 29.
- An ethnic and traditional mask intricately crafted by the artisans West Bengal.
- A tradition of art of masks making for the annual Gomira dance festival held in and around the village.
- The Kushmandi masks or Gomira masks are usually made of light wood preferably the Gamhar wood.
- The makers are mainly concentrated in the village of Mahisbathan where a handicraft hub has been developed as a part of rural craft hub initiative under the MSME department of Government of West Bengal and in collaboration with UNESCO.
- Wood-crafted Gomira masks represent the characters of the two forms of the Gomira dance – the original Gomira form and the Ramer Banobas.
- The masks depict the various characters of Goddess Kali in her indigenous form and also the mythical character of Hanuman.
- Gomira is a socio religious festival that is celebrated in worship of Chandi and Kali in order to attain devine blessings From the godess .
- The festival is celebrated mostly at the end of Bengali year .
- Gomira is actually an animistic tradition in which the primitive people pay their homage to different Gods in order to attain security.
- The Gomira dance have extensive use of wooden masks.
- The artists Wear various masks which depicts various incarnations of Kali, Nrisingha and ghosts.
Source : The Hindu
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